Knowledge sharing workshop

This workshop aims to share and discuss the findings of the ILO global study on financing mechanisms for promoting social inclusion in skills and lifelong learning systems and its policy implications for Malaysia.

The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated existing inequalities globally. It has pushed millions of children, adolescents and adults into extreme poverty and affected disadvantaged people and those in vulnerable situations disproportionately.

Skills development systems are an essential element to further a country’s sustainable development, promote employability and capabilities of individuals, productivity and competitiveness of enterprises, economic diversification, and productive transformations of economies. Skills development and lifelong learning also supports career progression and personal fulfilment and contributes to equal opportunities and social justice if chances to access and participate in skills development are indeed available for all.

However, discrimination and exclusion continue to be prevalent in many skills development systems: people in rural communities, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, workers in the informal economy and other disadvantaged groups often face higher barriers to access and participate. Women remain underrepresented in STEM fields, are faced with gender biases in occupational choices, and additional sociocultural and economic constraints all contributing to a persistent gender wage gap and lower labour force participation.

Non-financial measures to promote social inclusion in skills development and lifelong learning have long been promoted, including awareness raising, target-setting/equity measures including quota, guidance and counselling, social marketing campaigns, anti-harassment policies, capacity building for inclusive learning methodologies, flexible schedules, and admission criteria etc. These remain critical instruments to create an inclusive learning environment and help overcome barriers regarding information, timing of training or physical spaces – yet are more effective if coupled with financial instruments.

Thus, non-financial instruments are often more effective if coupled with financial instruments which are designed to address financial barriers associated with participating in training. Financial instruments to promote social inclusion fall into three broad categories: i) Financing mechanisms for individuals; ii) Financing mechanisms for training providers, and iii) Financing mechanisms for enterprises.

To explore how financing mechanisms can be strengthened to improve equity in skills and lifelong learning in Malaysia (and ASEAN), the ILO through the Skills for Prosperity in South-East Asia programme conducted a global review to identify international good practices and policy options in designing and implementing financial mechanisms for individuals, enterprises, and training providers to enhance inclusion of disadvantaged and vulnerable learners.

Together with HRDCorp, the ILO Skills for Prosperity in Malaysia will present the findings of the global report in Malaysia and draw implications for the national context. Following to the launch, the ILO Skills for Prosperity team will continue supporting HRDCorp and national partners in the review and discussion about the relevant findings for Malaysia.

1. Inform policy review and formulation by sharing knowledge on the most relevant forms and types of financial measures to promote inclusion in skills and lifelong learning, as well as their level of effectiveness.

2. Facilitate policy dialogue with national stakeholders based on the current situation in Malaysia with regards to TVET financing mechanisms and social inclusion. For this, some recommendations for stakeholders in Malaysia drawing on the international good practice will be also presented.